Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Foreclosure

Foreclosure tips on what to avoid, and advice from real estate expert and attorney Tara-Nicholle Nelson.

No one wants to hear the F word, but in today's market, everyone is talking about it. What exactly is foreclosure and how does it affect you? We break down what you need to know about the process.

  1. Foreclosure is a process, not a thing.
    People often misuse the term "foreclosure." Foreclosure is a series of events, not a state of being. Lenders don't foreclose on homeowners; they foreclosure on property.
    Foreclosure defined

  2. The foreclosure process has four phases. The terms and length of each phase vary by state.
    Homeowners: Your rights and options vary depending on the stage your home is in and the state you live in. Know what laws apply to you. Buyers: The stage and state will determine the strategy you use.
    Stages of foreclosure process

  3. A difficult financial situation doesn't have to lead to foreclosure.
    There are several steps you can take to avoid foreclosure if your loan is about to adjust, you lose your job, or otherwise anticipate that you might miss mortgage payments. 
    7 Steps to avoid foreclosure

  4. The mortgage lender is not eager to take your house away.
    Lenders are not in the business of managing real estate, so they would rather work with homeowners to keep them in the house. And with the growing number of defaults across the country, your lender may be more open to cutting a deal.
    How to deal with your lender when facing foreclosure

  5. You can sell your home immediately when foreclosure is looming. 
    Even if you live in a tough market, being aggressive and keeping your home in good condition can help you get a speedy sale. 
    Selling your house fast when foreclosure looms

  6. All is not lost once you get a notice of default.
    If you've missed more than three mortgage payments, you still have some alternatives for stopping the foreclosure process. 
    5 Ways to stop foreclosure process

  7. A short sale is better than going through foreclosure.
    Lenders don't typically forgive mortgages, but in a market with lots of inventory, they would rather see the house sold for less than the mortgage, than deal with trying to sell it themselves. 
    Understanding short sales

  8. Foreclosure has major legal, tax and credit consequences.
    Foreclosure will heavily impact your ability to borrow money in the future, so make sure you've exhausted all other options first.
    How foreclosure affects your future

  9. Buying a foreclosure property doesn't always mean you'll get a bargain.
    Finding a turnkey property in the foreclosure market is rare. Oftentimes, the home will need some renovation. Crunch the numbers first to make sure you really are getting a deal.
    Advantages and disadvantages of buying a foreclosure

  10. Understanding your mortgage can help you avoid foreclosure.
    Many homeowners who end up in foreclosure say they were unaware of some crucial pieces of information about their mortgage. Read all the loan documents, ask questions, and consult with an attorney if you can.
    What to know about your mortgage to avoid foreclosure.
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